The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Dr Faustus
By Andrew Andrews
I’ve spoken before about the virtues of The Secret Theatre. Recalling last fall when I reviewed The Seeing Place’s modern-day interpretation of the Faustus legend, I was excited to take the quick ride back to Court Square to experience Marlowe’s version of the play.
Truth be told, I’ve always considered Kit Marlowe to be a “wannabe” Shakespeare, even though The Bard is known to have been influenced by Kit, who was first to the field.
Alternating between prose and blank verse, I find Marlowe’s dialogue easier to follow when he’s not rhyming, but his poetry never feels quite as clever or pointed as Shakespeare’s.
There’s a lot to appreciate about this production. The effort that’s gone into the sound and lighting design outshines most shows at this price point, and it’s obvious that the large ensemble has invested significant time in their preparation. The movement of the hissing spirits is highly choreographed, and although some of the roles might have been cast out of necessity, most of the actors fit their parts well.
The “glam” interpretation of Mephistopheles is allusive yet elusive, suggesting that Marlowe may have intended to link homosexuality to blasphemy, although many scholars believe he was gay or bisexual himself.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to catch this production is the opportunity to experience a work by one of The Bard’s contemporaries, at a price that’s worth every penny and doesn’t break the bank.
If you enjoy sitting in at any of the countless free outdoor performances of Shakespeare each year throughout the city, I believe you owe it to yourself to hop on the train to Queens to catch the next showing of The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Dr Faustus.
And you’d better hurry, because this short run ends on December 15th.
Andrew Andrews attended The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Dr Faustus at The Secret Theatre in New York on Thursday, December 5, 2019 @ 7:30pm to write this review.